Keynote Speaker

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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I give talks and lead executive sessions on entrepreneurship, innovation, strategy and leadership. I have addressed hundreds of groups across a broad range of talks and working sessions. Here are several specific topics and areas of investigation where I focus most often.  Mark Coopersmith Keynote 2017

Each of these talks stands on its own as a keynote address or session. Additionally, for groups seeking a more interactive experience and a deeper dive, I often build workshops, exercises and related activities to accompany these topics.  hese additional activities help participants roll up their sleeves, try out these tools and concepts, and put them to work right away investigating new opportunities and new approaches for themselves and their organizations.

Here is a brief list of some of my most-requested talks and topics.  Scroll further down the page for more detail, including options for workshops and breakout groups:

  • The Toolset, Skillset and Mindset of Great Entrepreneurs (how we teach and practice entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley)

    • Gain a deeper understanding of the startup process and the entrepreneurs who drive it.  What they do.  Tools they use.  How they think.
  • Unlocking Innovation and Growth in the Enterprise: Three Keys to Successful Corporate Entrepreneurship

    How do leading innovators successfully think and act like an entrepreneur in a large enterprise? This talk includes specific examples and tools to help you align strategy, work most effectively with key stakeholders, and drive execution and results.

  • Winners and Losers in the Age of Automation 

    • Advances in technology have resulted in entire new and reframed sectors. Sometimes called the “4th Industrial Revolution,” these areas include artificial intelligence and machine learning, the internet of things, robotics, and 3D printing. What are the implications for our organizations, ourselves, society? Who wins and loses, and what can you do today to thrive in this fast-changing landscape?
  • The Other “F” Word – Putting Failure to Work

    • How do smart leaders, teams and entrepreneurs put failure to work to better drive innovation, growth, resilience, and teamwork in your organization? Gain insights, frameworks and tools pioneered in my Amazon bestselling book of the same name. 

• The Toolset, Skillset and Mindset of Great Entrepreneurs (how we teach and practice entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley)


More world-changing startups are launched in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area than anywhere else. This region is the acknowledged global epicenter of entrepreneurship and innovation. What is it about Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and innovators – and other great entrepreneurs around the world – that sets them apart?

In this interactive and entertaining talk, I explain and demystify entrepreneurship in general, and especially what successful entrepreneurs do, how they do it, and how they think. I reiterate the imperative for innovation in a time of rapid change, volatility, and global competition. We explore a typical startup life cycle, including concepts such as the “valley of death” and “crossing the chasm.” And I provide examples and discussion around the toolsets, skillsets, and entrepreneurial mindset that successful entrepreneurs deploy, with practical insights into what separates the best from the rest. Attendees will gain a better understanding of core concepts around entrepreneurship, secrets of successful entrepreneurs, tools they use, how they think about risk, and how I teach this topic at UC Berkeley and to groups around the world.

Why Silicon Valley?

In addition to learning more about entrepreneurship, some groups are interested in gaining a better understanding why so much innovation and entrepreneurship takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley. What is so special about this place?  What insights can be applied to other regions to help attain similar results?  To help provide this context, I incorporate insights and content from another talk of mine entitled: “The Inside History of Silicon Valley.”  I share more about the local culture of the Bay Area, going all the way back to the original California gold rush in the mid-1800’s. We investigate science and technology, the sources and uses of capital, education and universities, legal and regulatory issues, human capital, and more. We also look into what comprises productive entrepreneurial ecosystems, and what makes them thrive, identifying 6 core pillars .

Bootcamp: put these insights to work, right now!

I have developed many activities and exercises drawn from more than two decades of the practice and teaching of entrepreneurship. These exercises are incorporated in workshops I run and even entrepreneurship mini-bootcamps we’re teams go through an accelerated startup simulation. These extended sessions allow participants to take the insights, frameworks and tools from my talks and put them to work, locking in new approaches and skills. These activities also reinforce the entrepreneurial mindset, which is such an important component of this overall topic. Activities can revolve around case studies that I bring to the session; or the sessions can be constructed to focus on specific initiatives that groups wish to develop and pursue. These additional activities can range from a couple of hours to multiple days, and work particularly well with teams.

• Unlocking Innovation and Growth in the Enterprise: Three Keys to Successful Corporate Entrepreneurship

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At Nasdaq’s Entrepreneurial Center discussing how to drive innovation and growth.

Is it possible to operate nimbly and entrepreneurially to pursue new business opportunities, and drive innovation and growth, inside complex large enterprises? The answer is a resounding “yes!” In this talk I share high level frameworks (my “Three Pillars” addressing strategy, stakeholders and execution) along with practical tools and examples to help you accomplish your objectives.

Building on my personal experiences as a startup CEO (Google owns an e-commerce platform I led), Fortune 500 executive and corporate entrepreneur (EVP and division founder at Sony), along with 15 years teaching entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley and around the world, I share frameworks, strategies and tactics to act and succeed entrepreneurially inside a large organization. I also introduce a number of specific tools and activities to help improve your odds of entrepreneurial success, fast growth, and value creation.

This talk addresses crucial areas of:

  • strategy development and alignment
  • stakeholder recruitment and management
  • successful execution, metrics and performance

Throughout this talk I incorporate many case studies and examples to emphasize key points, illustrate how to use tools, and bring the lessons to life.

Workshop 1: Use and Learn the Tools

Based on my “Corporate Entrepreneurship” talk and Three-Pillar framework – and building upon my personal experiences as a corporate entrepreneur – I have developed a “Corporate Entrepreneur Workbook,” containing proven tools, frameworks and exercises. This workshop, which can range from two hours to a full day or more, has participants apply these tools to their own corporate entrepreneurial projects, or to projects we identify together.

Workshop 2: From Entrepreneurship to Corporate Entrepreneurship – Building a Deeper Understanding

Combine my “Corporate Entrepreneurship” talk with my “Entrepreneurship Deconstructed” talk to create a powerful half day or full day. Start with the basics of successful entrepreneurs and startups, and then build on that foundation with tactics and frameworks to put those entrepreneurial concepts to work inside a large enterprise. Expand to a full day or more by adding a corporate entrepreneurship workshop and apply these tools directly to your internal innovation and corporate entrepreneurship initiatives.

• Winners and Losers in the Age of Automation

At Pioneers with Kiki the Robot

The so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. Computers make decisions on their own and their logic now evolves and improves without human intervention. Robots operate independently. Our homes and cars and cities are increasingly connected and automated. The definition of “reality” blurs when we add the suffixes “virtual” or ‘augmented.”

If you think technology-driven change has been dramatic over the past decade, just wait. Essential foundations have been laid in computing speed, data science and storage, wireless connectivity, material science, and robotics that presage exponentially more and faster change, from artificial intelligence and machine learning to connected homes and cities, to on-demand manufacturing.

In this wide-ranging and provocative talk, punctuated with videos and demos, Mark provides an overview of the current and impending wave of massive change, including implications for individuals, businesses, entire sectors, and even countries and regions.

Workshop: What does this mean for you?

Many of the organizations and leaders with whom I work ask: “what do these changes mean for me/us?” For groups interested in diving deeper into this topic, we build on the information and concepts introduced in the “Rise of the Machines” talk, connecting emerging technologies and sectors with specific implications for ourselves, our businesses, and our sectors. From augmented reality to artificial intelligence to 3D printing, we investigate these areas in greater detail and develop game plans to be more proactive in the face of accelerating change, threats, and opportunities.

• The Other “F” Word: Driving Innovation and Growth through a More Productive Relationship with Failure

Explaining the Failure Value Cycle: how to reduce the impact of failure and turn it from a regret into a strategic resource.

Mark explaining how to reduce the impact of failure in organizations.

The San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley are the global epicenter of entrepreneurship, innovation. Billion-dollar startups bloom, and entire industries are disrupted. Yet, even in Silicon Valley, many more startups and innovations fail than succeed. My UC Berkeley colleague John Danner and I have investigated this phenomenon for years. We have taught classes on it, written about it, and given many talks on this topic. This work was ultimately synthesized in our Amazon bestselling book: “The Other ‘F’ Word: How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to Work” (Wiley, 2015).

In this provocative and entertaining talk, I draw upon this large body of work and current events to provide examples, insights and tools to help leaders turn setbacks and failures from regrets into strategic resources; to help drive greater innovation and growth, and to contribute to a more engaged and collaborative workforce. I introduce the groundbreaking seven-stage Failure Value Cycle, providing a discrete path to becoming a more “failure-savvy” leader. Case studies come from organizations of all sizes, and from CEOs, venture capitalists, the Great Place to Work Institute, entrepreneurs and technology leaders, and even fighter pilots and astronauts.

None of us like to fail. But a select few of us have cracked the code, creating a more productive relationship with the other “F” word. Join this exclusive group of successful “failure-savvy” leaders.

Workshops: Put Failure to Work

The Other F Word: How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to Work (2015) by Mark Coopersmith and John Danner

The Other “F” Word: How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to Work (2015)

A select number of organizations have done exactly what the book title promises: “put failure to work.” I will work with you and your team to create a more productive relationship with failure, and generate better outcomes. Whether you assess your own organization’s attitude toward failure, or develop failure postmortems to gain insights for future growth and innovation, or build more ambitious innovation portfolios, the activities we undertake will challenge current conventions and contribute to more resilient culture, resilience and employee engagement. Workshops will also include the seven stages of the Failure Value Cycle, helping reduce the incidence and impact of major failures, and extract the learnings from them when they do occur.

Recent Praise:

Word is already spreading internally about your great talk yesterday. It really was exceptional: you engaged the audience so well, you had so many relevant examples of companies that did or didn’t put failure to work, and above all the topic resonated so well as we seek to drive more and faster innovation, knowing it may require taking more risks. It was the perfect combination of great examples and actionable content!

—Head of Strategy and Business Development: Samsung

Thank you getting our annual leadership conference off to a terrific start with your entertaining and insightful keynote address. It set the stage perfectly for our theme of ‘explore,’ and challenged all of us to look at the many types of innovation impacting our firms and our clients. And we also got to see some some really cool stuff!

— Chairman, Global Financial Services Group

Mark’s speech was superb–full of energy, enthusiasm, and wit.  The audience loved it, and was on the verge of cheering at every sentence.

—Consul General of France

Our people were blown away. Mark delivered the content at exactly the right level.  He ‘got’ our industry, ‘got’ what our people do, and got them really engaged all day. Mark delivered, and then some.

—General Manager, Asteron Insurance

I have been flooded this morning with compliments on the event.  People were so engaged, and I honestly think we could have fielded questions for another hour!!!

—Head of Innovation, RocketSpace (startup and corporate accelerator)

Audiences include executives and professionals, leaders, their teams, C-suite members, board members, and other high-potential people in business, government and non-profits worldwide.

Media: The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, CNN, Fox News, ABC, NPR, Huffington Post, LA Times, Entrepreneur magazine, Financial Times, USA Today, and more

Engagements and groups include Google, Disney, Salesforce, Airbus, IDEO, Samsung, Wells Fargo, Daimler Benz, Genentech, Barclays, The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, and the EU Parliament.

Categories include Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Leadership, Strategy, Growth, Failure, Management, Business Model Innovation, Corporate Culture, and Change Management.

Contact Mark here to inquire about his availability.


Short Biography

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Head Shots

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Book Covers

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Candid Photos

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Video Gallery

Speaking Videos

Innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership video snippets from Mark Coopersmith.

Workshop Videos

Highlights from live workshops with Mark Coopersmith.

Executive Education Programs

Snippets from Mark Coopersmith’s programs at The Haas School of Business in Berkeley, CA.

The Other “F” Word Videos

Turn failure into a strategic resource for business growth.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Videos

Get new approaches to driving growth, company resilience and long-term success from Mark Coopersmith.